(by Diane Laney Fitzpatrick)
Everyone agrees that moving isn’t easy. Studies say moving is one of the hardest things we have to go through in life. And while some people seem to take it in stride and even shine at relocating, I’ve talked to more than a few people who seem to have barely survived a move.
I’ve moved so many times that I’ve mastered the art of the move, particularly the part where you hang onto your sense of humor and learn to laugh instead of cry at the moving madness.
Here are five tactics you can use and abuse during your next move, to keep a smile on your face and a laugh on your lips when the boxes and bubble wrap become too much.
1. Every move needs a jester. It may as well be you.
Your neighbors are draping your front porch in black, your kids are threatening to run away from home because you’re ruining their lives, and it’s up to you to convince everyone that moving is awesome! This is an adventure! “Lucky you!” I’d yell after my kids, ignoring the daggers coming from their eyes.
When things get tough, start laughing and your family will follow suit.
When the box with the entire contents of their bedroom closet would go MIA, when we’d unpack to discover that the 72-ounce bottle of conditioner had broken open and saturated nine sets of sheets, when the first day of school arrives and you don’t have any shoes, if you don’t lead the laughter, no one will.
2. The Law of Opposites: Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry
During my most traumatic moves, I made up my own Law of Opposites. The more stressful my move got, the more goofy I’d get. Until, when Comcast tells me they need a 72-hour window to get us nine channels, instead of busting a vein, I’d make myself take a breath and just laugh. Forcing yourself to laugh through a tense moment will get you through the roughest spots and before you know it, you’ve come out on the other side - watching your favorite sitcom.
3. Hang with the happy people
Staying positive and keeping your sense of humor during a move requires a flat-out refusal to let others bring you down. When your move starts to get edgy, be careful who surrounds you. Avoid people with negative attitudes, neighbors who start to tear up every time you talk about your move date, and anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor.
Keep farewells and going-away parties positive affairs, and if anyone starts to drone on about all the things you’ll miss, pop his helium balloon.
4. Mantras and maxims
Moving is much like a competitive sport. So take a tip from athletes and others who need a jolt of inspiration and find cartoons, funny YouTube videos, quotes, and anything that will lift your spirits and improve your mood.
Keep a reminder on your desktop, put a sign on your nightstand or headboard, whatever it takes. However you choose to remind yourself that “this, too, shall pass” and “we’ll laugh about this someday,” keep reminding yourself that you’ll get through this move intact.
5. The old standby: Picture everyone naked
Not much explanation needed, here. It works for public speaking anxiety, it could work for moving stress. Note: Don’t tell your realtor. We could get into trouble.
Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of “Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves,” a collection of wit and wisdom from her cross-country relocations. She lives in San Francisco, where she’s working on her second book and continues to write her humor blog “Just Humor Me” on her website at www.DianeLaneyFitzpatrick.com.